Tigers not planning to slot Jackson at leadoff

Tigers not planning to slot Jackson at leadoff

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Austin Jackson has hit almost exclusively in the leadoff spot during his Major League career, but it seems that his new manager has other ideas.

Asked on Friday if Jackson will hit somewhere other than first, Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus said that is "more than likely."

Jackson made all 127 of his starts as a leadoff man last season, and 542 of 544 in four big league seasons. In 2011, he spent one game hitting second and another hitting ninth.

However, the Tigers acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Rangers this offseason, and Ausmus has been using him as a leadoff man. In Friday's game against the Braves, Kinsler hit first, while Jackson hit seventh.

"It's more about where I think he'll be most successful and contribute the most," Ausmus said.

Last season, Jackson hit .272/.337/.417 with 12 home runs, 129 strikeouts and a career-low eight stolen bases in 12 attempts. His steals have declined each season since he swiped 27 as a rookie.

After going 1-for-3 on Friday, Jackson is still batting .442 this spring, with eight extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and two steals.

"He's swung the bat well," Ausmus said. "Even his outs have been hard-hit outs."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.